Colchester Decorative & Fine Arts Society
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20 June 2017The Fry Gallery & Audley End
18 July 2017Holkham Hall

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The Fry Gallery & Audley End
Tuesday 20 June 2017

In the morning we visit The Fry Art Gallery, originally built in 1856 by the Quaker banker, Francis Gibson, to house his art collection. It is now held in trust and is devoted to the works of artists, past and present, who have lived and worked in NW Essex, particularly The Great Bardfield Artists, but also including Grayson Perry. This year’s special exhibition features works by Michael Rothenstein RA, after The Fry Art Gallery recently became the holder of the largest collection of his work. There will also be free time to explore the delightful medieval town of Saffron Walden, visiting some of its other attractions (Bridge End Gardens, Museum, St. Mary’s Church).

At mid-day we continue on to Audley End where various lunch options are available in the Servants’ Hall Tea Room (not included). You could take a picnic to enjoy in the grounds or even pre-order a hamper from Audley End (see their website). The impressive House, which is now only about a third of the size of the vast mansion created in about 1605–14 by Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk, retains much of its original character and contains fine Robert Adam and Jacobean revival interiors. A guided tour is not included but stewards are located in the principal rooms to answer any questions. The gardens and landscape, shaped by various owners to complement the House, reflect the many changes in English garden fashion. You can also visit the Stable Block, housing a museum on the landscaping and development of the Estate, the Service Wing and gift shop. Refreshments are available in The Servants’ Hall Tea Room.

Cost £37 including coach, morning coffee at The Fry Art Gallery, and entrance fee to Audley End House & Gardens. Admission to Audley End is free for English Heritage and Art Fund Members (please indicate on booking form and remember to bring your membership cards on the day), thereby reducing the cost of the visit for you to £24. The booking form is available here.